Order Granting Cruise Line New Trial On Damages Reversed Where The Reasonableness And Unassailability Of The Bottom Line Verdict Amount Rendered Harmless Any Arguable Miscalculation Fo The Component Verdict Amounts Rendered.
CARNIVAL CORPORATION, ETC. vs. ROBERT AMATO
FLORIDA THIRD DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
CASE NO. 3D01-198
Filed February 5, 2003
Order granting Carnival Corporation a new trial is REVERSED.
Appeal from trial court order granting Carnival Corporation’s motion for new trial and denying motion to direct a verdict for Carnival.
Plaintiff was a passenger who fell down a flight of stairs on Defendnat’s cruise ship. Plaintiff sued Defendant on four theories: (1) negligence for allowing grease to accumulate on the top of the stairs; (2) maintaining a defective handrail; (3) failure to put non-skid strips on the stairs; and (4) building the stairs too steeply and too overlapped. Defendant moved to strike Plaintiff’s pleadings because the Plaintiff had allegedly made false statements in his deposition related to a prior workers’ compensation claim, prior accidents, medications prescribed at the time of the fall, and failing to disclose doctors who treated his fall injury. This motion was denied. Thereafter, Defendant moved in limine to exclude Plaintiff’s expert witnesses claiming the testimony related to issues of common knowledge. This motion was also denied. Following a verdict for the Plaintiff, the Defendant moved for a new trial on all issues which was granted as to damages only. Both parties appealed. The Third District Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order granting a new trial on damages and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the Plaintiff for the total amount of the verdict finding that the reasonableness and unassailability of the bottom line amount of the verdict rendered harmless any arguable miscalculation of the component verdict amounts returned.
Order granting new trial REVERSED and REMANDED to trial court for entry of judgment in favor of the Plaintiff for the total amount of the verdict.
Waitress Who Worked Aboard A Moored Riverboat Gambing Boat Was Not A Seaman For Jones Act Purposes.
MARY MARTIN VERSUS BOYD GAMING CORPORATION, ET AL
CIVIL ACTION NO. 02-3010 SECTION “F”
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5116
March 25, 2003, Decided
March 26, 2003, Filed, Entered
Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on seaman status GRANTED.
Defendant gambling boat owners filed a motion for summary judgment in plaintiff waitress’s negligence action, wherein she sought recovery for injuries sustained when she slipped and fell on grease or cooking oil on the loading dock of the boat. The motion sought summary judgment on the issue of seaman status pursuant to her claim under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. § 688, for unseaworthiness.
The waitress worked on the riverboat casino during its gaming cruises. When the Legislature abolished the cruise requirement, the boat conducted continuous gaming activities only while it was moored and indicated its intent to be moored indefinitely. The waitress suffered injuries when she fell as a result of grease or cooking oil that had dripped out of a garbage bag. The trial court granted the owners’ motion for summary judgment as to her seaman status, holding that the waitress was not entitled to that status because the boat was no longer a vessel in navigation. Although it had the ability to conduct gaming cruises, it clearly had foregone that opportunity and indicated that it would continue to do so. The court noted that the extremely limited transportation function of moving the boat in order to dredge the place where it was moored was subordinate to its contrasting function of providing dockside gaming. Accordingly, the Jones Act did not extend protection or coverage in the action.
The court granted the motion for summary judgment.
Jones Act Employer May Be Liable For Injuries To Seaman Training At United States Operated Training Center. Jones Act Employer, However, May Not Seek Indemnity Or Contribution From The United States Where The United States Would Not Be Independently Liable To The Seaman.
DAWN RANNALS, Plaintiff, -vs- DIAMOND JO CASINO, Defendant.
Case No. 3:98 CV 7545
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO, WESTERN DIVISION
2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3066
March 5, 2003, Decided
Third-Party Defendant’s motion for summary judgment granted. Defendant/ Third-Party Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions denied. Defendant/ Third-Party Plaintiff’s motion for oral argument denied.
Plaintiff seaman sued defendant employer under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.S. § 688, for injuries suffered while training at a center operated by third-party defendant United States. The court granted summary judgment to the employer. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed. The employer then brought suit against the United States seeking contribution and/or indemnity. The United States moved for summary judgment.
The Sixth Circuit had ruled that the court erred by holding that any negligence on the part of the training center could not be imputed to the employer and by applying the defense of natural accumulation to the employer to defeat the seaman’s claim. The United States argued that since it was not a Jones Act employer, it could avail itself of the common-law defense of natural accumulation, which relieved it of any direct liability to the seaman, barring any claim for contribution and/or indemnity. The court agreed. Nothing in the Sixth Circuit’s opinion precluded the application of the defense of natural accumulation to the United States. The training center had direct responsibility for the dangerous condition, not the employer. Thus, the employer’s claim against the United States was one for indemnity, not contribution. To recover from a potential indemnitor, the indemnitor had be liable to the seaman. Since the United States could avail itself of the defense of natural accumulation of ice or snow on its premises, it was not liable to the seaman. Since summary judgment was granted, the seaman’s motion for separate trials was moot. Sanctions were not warranted.
The court granted the United States’ motion for summary judgment, denied the seaman’s motion to vacate order granting the employer leave to file a third-party complaint or in the alternative for separate trials as moot, and denied the employer’s motions for sanctions and for oral argument.
Forum Selection Clause In Cruise Passenger Ticket Enforceable Despite Passengers Receiving The Ticket About 24 Days Before Cruise Began At A Time When Passengers Would Have Had To Forfeit A Portion Of Their Cruise Fare If They Rejected The Forum Selection Clause By Cancelling Their Tickets.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE, LTD., Appellant, v. MARILYN CLARK and RICHARD CLARK, Appellees.
Case No. 2D02-945
COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, SECOND DISTRICT
2003 Fla. App. LEXIS 2876; 28 Fla. L. Weekly D 650
March 7, 2003, Opinion Filed
Appeal from a nonfinal order of the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; Thomas F. Penick, Judge.
Reversed and remanded with instructions.
Appellee cruise ship passengers sued appellant cruise ship line in the Circuit Court for Pinellas County (Florida) for negligence. The cruise ship line moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, to transfer the cause to the Circuit Court in Dade County, Florida. The trial court denied the motion. The cruise ship line appealed.
The passengers ordered and paid for tickets through their travel agent for a cruise on a ship owned and operated by the cruise line. The passengers received their tickets about 24 days before the cruise began. At the time they received their tickets, the passengers would have been required to forfeit a portion of their ticket purchase if they cancelled their tickets. The tickets contained a forum selection clause requiring that all claims, disputes, or controversies be commenced, filed, and litigated, if at all, before a court of proper jurisdiction located in Dade County, Florida. One of the passengers slipped and fell on wet decking the first day out during a mandatory lifeboat drill, injuring her leg and ankle. The passengers contended that because they received the tickets within the penalty period and would have forfeited an undetermined amount of the ticket price had they decided to cancel, the cruise line provided them with insufficient notice of the ticket’s conditions so as to render the contract fundamentally unfair. On appeal, the court found that the forum selection clause was enforceable.
The judgment was reversed, and the cause was remanded with instructions to transfer the cause to the Circuit Court in Dade County, Florida.